Do you have a couple in your life, maybe friends, relatives or coworkers, which you truly believe will be together forever? I do. I sometimes wonder how they do it. How do they make a relationship, which has so much potential to be complicated, seem almost effortless? And more importantly, how do they maintain that aura?
They are the couple you want to be. They're best friends, so they have this sweet and almost secret quality and language that you can't quite grasp, but it's obvious to everyone around them that they have passion for each other, too. I love meeting couples that say they married their best friend and you can actually believe them. It only makes sense that the person you share a bed, finances, your morning breath and your life with would be your best friend. But it's great to find out that some couples manage to stay that way.
When one of these perfect couples breaks the news that they're splitting, it's like you just witnessed the Easter Bunny being shot point blank in a dark alley. You can't sleep, eat or get off your couch for a week. You feel like you are the one breaking up and your entire idea of what the perfect relationship was ... is shattered, because if they can't make it, none of us can. All hope is lost.
Being witness to your ‘perfect couple's' separation can fling you into a fit of mild depression and make you question whether falling for anyone at all is a good plan. It's too hard to envy an image of perfection only to see it falter and fail.
It's so hard to see people whose relationship you held on a pedestal take a flying leap from grace because we want so badly to believe that it's possible, maybe not even that hard, to live with and love someone for 60-plus years, nature willing. We want to believe it can happen for us too.
On top of it, everyone thinks that if they are even relatively close to a couple, they know each and every minute detail that goes on behind closed doors. We make judgments and assumptions about why things are or are not going well. We think we'd know if they were going to split.
The truth is no one outside of the two people choosing to end their relationship knows a damn thing. Maybe what the rest of the world saw as love was really carefully bottled years of resentment and frustration over God knows what that finally became too much. Divorce and break-ups aren't fun, but they're better than homicide, or spending your life faking commitment and love. So what is there to learn from the couples we envy, and what can we learn from the ones who end up apart?
It's difficult to think of spending the rest of your life committed to one person. Loving them when you don't feel like it, forgiving them when you'd rather hold a grudge and all the while trying to avoid being caught in the death clutches of monotony. But when you meet these perfect couples, it's not so difficult to imagine.
The perfect couples you know are probably still together because they have learned that there is no "perfect" and that you can love someone and still have bad days, fights, and be angry. What matters is the part where you come back and forgive if need be, or be forgiven, that you say something rather than nothing, and that you know when to bend and when to push. That you love in spite of each others flaws.
It's just that simple, right?
Take your own relationship and avoid reaching for the perfection you think you see in others and instead find what works best here in the land of reality. I do want to be best friends with the person I marry, because I can't imagine agreeing to marry anyone else.
I'd like to think that perfection is somewhere within my grasp, but that's ridiculous.
We're all flawed, yes, even me.
Bad couples split and much to our dismay, couples we thought would stand the test of time split, too. We are complicated creatures and making the choice to spend our lives with another complicated creature is not a job for the faint of heart. But we take that leap knowing all the possible consequences because we want to be with our best friend, the one we love.
No, the OnMilwaukee.com sex columnist's real name is not Sarah Foster. (Foster is the model/actress that played an ex-lover of Vincent Chase in the first season of "Entourage.") In reality, our sex columnist is a Wisconsin native with a degree in journalism and a knack for getting people to talk to her.
Sarah never considered herself an "above average" listener. Others, however, seem to think differently. Perhaps she has a sympathetic tone or expression that compels people to share their lives and secrets with her despite how little they know her. Everyone from the girl that does her hair to people in line at the grocery store routinely spill the details of their lives and relationships to Sarah, unprompted but typically not unwanted. It’s strange to her that people would do this, but she doesn’t mind. Sarah likes that she can give advice even if it is to complete strangers.
So why the pseudonym? Simple. People tell Sarah these things because for some reason they trust her. They believe she cares and therefore will keep their secrets in a locked vault the same way a best friend or therapist would. Sarah won't name names, but that vault is now unlocked.